February 2017

Leading Ladies - How far will two guys go for $3 million bucks

Author: Andrea Gannon | Photographer: TR Media World

February warms up with a hilarious comedy at the Arts Center, Leading Ladies, onstage February 7-26. It’s the story of Leo (Ethan Saks) and Jack (Jack Lafferty), two down-on-their-luck British actors in 1950s America, touring Scenes from Shakespeare at lackluster venues such as the local Moose Lodge in Amish country. But that luck is about to change when they read a newspaper account of a wealthy elderly lady (Jane Ridley), looking for her long-lost British nephews, Max and Steve, in order to leave them each a $3 million inheritance. Because Leo and Jack are actors, the next logical step is to impersonate these relatives and claim the cash.

That is, until local girl Audrey (Jessica Myhr) informs them that Max and Steve are nieces and not nephews; Max and Steve turn out to be Maxine and Stephanie. The duo determines to forge ahead regardless, donning dresses, lipstick and a little blush.

Back at the Arts Center for his twenty-sixth production is NYC-based director Russell Treyz, having been at the helm at some of the theater’s best comedies: Boeing-Boeing, Don’t Dress for Dinner, and countless others. In fact, Treyz describes this show as a Lend Me a Tenor meets Some Like it Hot!

“This show is a laugh riot, and it’s got a little of everything,” Treyz said.

“Though the title may not be well-known, since it’s a relatively new comedy, audiences should come out in full force to enjoy a hysterical night of theater with a truly magical cast. Three of the leads—Ethan Saks, Jack Lafferty and Jane Ridley—are back at the Arts Center again, and they all deliver stellar performances, along with everyone else in the company.”

Leading Ladies was penned by Ken Ludwig, Broadway’s “most produced comedy writer in theater,” according to a recent article in American Theatre magazine. The award-winning Ludwig’s adept handling of his premise, multiple storylines and character quirks allows the play to surprise and amuse audiences at every turn. But no one behaves quite as expected in this farce, which is filled with disguises, deceptions and double-crosses.

Things get even more complicated when Leo falls madly in love with the elderly lady’s vivacious niece, Meg (Holly Ann Butler), who’s engaged to the local minister and herself enamored of Shakespeare and the stage. You may guess where this is heading—but, not so fast. Twists are rampant! Other surprises await the duo of Leo and Jack, as mistaken identities and romantic entanglements abound.

Don’t miss Leading Ladies: the most fun you’ll have this February!

Preview performances February 7-9 are $38 for adults and $27 for children 5-15; Regular tickets, February 10-26, are $48 for adults and $33 for children. To get yours, call the Arts Center box office at (843) 842-ARTS (2787) or go online to tickets.artshhi.com.

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